The 26th Sunday of the Year

Amos 6:1 & 4-7; 1 Tim 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31 (year c)

“Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria.” The prophet Amos was, to say the very least, an unwelcome voice to the social elite of Israel’s northern kingdom. He had come from the barren hills that lay to the south to confront the irresponsible concentration of the northern kingdom’s rich natural resources into the hands of privileged landlords.

Amos’s anger was derisory. Here were a people that sprawled on ivory beds, housed their livestock in greater luxury than their workers and drank wine by the bowlful. This conspicuous consumption was itself bad enough. What put it beyond redemption was a complete indifference to the plight of the poor whose labour provided this wealth. “But about the ruin of Joseph they do not care at all. That is why they will be the first to be exiled; the sprawlers’ revelry is over.”

Society today operates on a broader canvas than the narrow confines of Israel’s northern and southern kingdoms at the time of Amos. This does not, however, absolve us from having a care for less advantaged regions whose labour and produce contribute to our own economy.

Luke’s account of the rich man dressed in purple, contrasted with the poor man Lazarus who languished at his gate, underlines this point. The rich man is not indicted for his wealth, but for the self-absorption that never even noticed the plight of Lazarus.

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